Island Find! 1971 Ford Ranchero 500

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You know when an auto listing opens with, ” *** Special Note – Purchaser must retrieve car either before September 10th, 2021 or after October 4th, 2021 as the little ferry to the island will be in annual dry dock” it opens a line of questioning, that at the least, will incent a potentially interested party to read further. And being a ’71 Ford Ranchero doesn’t hurt either. Chevrolet’s El Camino competition from ’71/’72 are still everywhere, such as this ’71 example from yesterday, but a Ranchero from this era is a lot less commonly encountered. This stylish car/truck mashup is located in, or maybe I should say on, Lummi Island, Washington and is available, here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $5,750.

Today’s find is a Ranchero 500 which positions it second from the bottom of Ford’s versatile 1971 car/truck lineup. Both the Ranchero and Ranchero 500 were the more workaday vehicles but this ute, of unknown mileage, appears to have not been abused in it its day-to-day use. Actually, the seller mentions that it has been parked outdoors next to a barn (an adjacent barn find?) for several years. The seller freely lists the good with the bad, always appreciated, so let’s weigh one against the other.

Externally, this Ranchero is fair at best, it has some dents and mismatched paint, rust-through in the bed, and missing grille trim. Apparently, this Ford was originally blue and then later repainted red and that probably explains the color hue differences. It does still maintain a stock appearance and is Ford recognizable by its pie-pan hubcaps/trim rings combo – an inexpensive way for Ford to add a little affordable styling flavor.

Under the hood is a 210 gross HP, 302 CI V8 engine, one that the seller describes as, ” a pre smog vehicle before engines got crippled“. That’s true in this case though the EPA knives were sharpened by ’71 and starting to attack, there just wasn’t any impact, yet, on this venerable Ford engine. The motor is stated as being capable of turning over, but interested parties will have to contact the seller to get any further information. A three-speed automatic transmission conveys power to the rear wheels.

As for the interior, the seller advises, “dash and carpet in rough shape and a door vent/speaker cover missing. Ignition switch non-op and likely other switches ( lights, etc… no longer work. ) No radio. Windshield is cracked. Door window weather seals missing“. I thought it odd that the interior coloring is blue, considering the red exterior, but the repaint to red explains the not usually found combination. The seating upholstery and door panels look OK but as stated, the carpet is very shaky and the dash pad is done. It would be advisable to check the underlying condition of the floors.

The seller concludes with, “Is almost complete as in very little missing“. And that’s helpful as a project that is in pieces or missing a lot of obvious components is always a chore to reassemble and finish. So, what’s your suggestion, fix as-is to maintain a stock bearing or trip the light fantastic and go for some serious mods?

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  1. Sam Shive

    Just leave it on the island.

    Like 11
  2. nlpnt

    I had a 1980 Corolla in the early ’90s in a similar repaint red with blue interior (although mine had blue doorjambs as well).
    Apparently the previous owner had another one that rusted out and rather than registering the replacement he painted it the same color as the old one and illegally swapped over the license plate!

    Like 5
  3. Lowell Peterson

    All ashore thats goin’ ashore???

    Like 0
  4. chrlsful

    I really like the 2nd gen (esp 1st 1/2, ’round body’ up to ’63). Reciently the 3rd (Fairlane baised, stacked hdlghts, 4.7/6.4 bent8s, 4 speed) even w/ the long WB (like 106 inch WB). The 4th (2 yrs only) got the 5.8 & auto w/OD transmis. Now we’re talkin some muscle (but again 113 inch WB). last, the one above is where I stop lookin. It hada 7L that could B a replica SCJ w/the right wrencher. Mild to wild – I still like the lill ThriftPowered ’60/3 best for what I need (4.1 did not come in it but would B in mine as it’s in the EB too).

    Like 0
  5. chrlsful

    need a teneau or topper round here (draw a straight line frm there thru Canada to get here).

    Like 0
  6. William R Hall

    I had a 73 Ranchero I did a bit of work on including the motor best thing about it, 351 C FOUR BARELL. Fastest thing I ever owned. If I knew then what I know now about motors it would be even faster.

    Like 0
  7. Bluetec320 Bluetec320

    I would give it a white hardtop just to finish off the ‘Merica theme.

    Like 4
  8. Macfly

    Dad had this one with the amazing M code 351 with a factory Hurst 4 speed. Brought my pet goat home from the auction in the back. I’m really tempted.

    Like 0
  9. Troy s

    So went the life of the small 302, relegated to grocery duty after the glorious 289 and 302 4 barrel engines from a few years before, really just the 289. Boredom, economical, insurance friendly, and somehow the 302 lasts well into the nineties at one point reliving past glory in the 5.0 Mustangs. A whole growth of aftermarket parts, magazines dedicated to the 302. How about that!
    But not in 1971. With the nasty 351 Cleveland, 429 Cobra Jet, and even some new fangled 400 based on the Cleveland the 302 was just ….a three oh two. Have a great evening!

    Like 1

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